Mavericks Conclude NCAA Division II Tournament

Norgren Leads All Mavericks With Fourth-Place Finish

Kearney, Neb. – Minnesota State junior Aaron Norgren paced the Mavericks with a fourth-place finish in the NCAA Division II National Championship on Saturday as three Mavericks competed in the tournament’s final day.

After the third session the Mavericks are tied for tenth-place in the team portion of the tournament with 31.5 points.  Currently leading the tournament is Nebraska-Omaha with 90.5 points followed by St. Cloud State (86.5 points) and Augustana (81.5 points).

Entering day two of the tournament senior Andy Forstner (No. 7, 125-lbs) led things off for the Mavericks as he put his 2-1 record on the line against Gannon Universities fourth-ranked Jose Matos.  Saturday’s morning session would prove to be more successful than Friday’s for Forstner as he controlled the entire match earning a 13-4 major decision win over Matos.  Forstner nearly pinned Matos late in the second period giving him an 8-0 advantage before ultimately earning an additional point with 2:57 of riding time.  The win propelled Forstner to an opening round rematch against Shippensburg’s Christopher Kochinsky who defeated Forstner 5-2 in Friday’s morning session.  However, Kochinsky picked up right where he left off with Forstner as he earned an early round takedown before pinning Forstner at the 42 second mark.

The loss placed Forstner in the fifth-place match against North Carolina-Pembroke’s fifth-ranked Russell Weakley.  Forstner jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first period but that was the last lead he would hold in the match as Weakley recorded back-to-back escapes before earning three takedowns throughout the remainder of the match.  Weakley’s takedown late in the third period would seal the victory as he defeated Forstner by an 8-5 decision.  The loss gives Forstner a sixth-place finish in the tournament and a 25-15 record in his final season as a Maverick.

Senior Ben Becker’s (No. 4, 174-lbs) first bout of day two matched up the nation’s fourth and fifth-ranked wrestlers as Becker faced Upper Iowa’s fifth-ranked Mark Mueller.  Mueller was able to take control early in the match with a takedown and a three-point near-fall in the first period giving him a 5-0 advantage.  Mueller never surrendered the lead as he earned a 7-4 win by decision over Becker.

The loss put Becker in the tournaments seventh-place match where he faced Gene Choi of San Francisco State.  Becker dominated in his last match as a Maverick as he got out to an early 5-0 lead in the first period.  After a scoreless second period where Becker earned two minutes of riding time, Becker earned a reversal and a point of riding time in the third period to finish seventh-place with an 8-0 major decision win.  Becker compiled an 18-9 record this season.

The lone Maverick still eligible for a chance at the national title after day one was junior Aaron Norgren (No. 5, 184-lbs).  Norgren’s first match of the third session came against Nebraska-Omaha’s third-ranked Aaron Denson.  The two wrestlers met twice earlier in the year as they split the series with Denson winning the first match by a 6-2 decision while Norgren won the second meeting by a 3-1 decision.  Saturday’s match lived up to the hype as the wrestlers found themselves tied at 2-2 at the end of the third period.  However, it was Denson who got the best of Norgren this time as he earned a takedown midway through the sudden victory period giving him the 4-2 decision over Norgren.

Norgren’s first loss of the tournament placed him in a match with seventh-ranked Mitchell Schultz of Upper Iowa with the winner going on to wrestle in the third-place match.  After a scoreless first period, it was Norgren who earned the opportunity to wrestle in the third-place match as he shutout Schultz 6-0 after dominating the match with 2:47 of riding time.

Waiting for Norgren in the third-place match was the top-ranked Bryant Blanton of Newberry University.  The first period went scoreless before Blanton earned a two-point near-fall taking the first lead.  Norgren tied the match just seconds later with a reversal before Blanton earned an escape near the end of the second period.  Blanton took a 4-2 lead early in the third period with an escape from Norgren before Norgren tied the match recording a takedown with just 27 seconds remaining.  With time expiring Norgren tried forcing overtime but received a clasping technical violation with one-second remaining giving Blanton the match-winning point.  Norgren finished his third tournament appearance with a 3-2 record which was good enough for fourth-place.  Norgren finishes the year with a 29-10 overall record.

The fourth and final session of the NCAA Division II National Championship will begin at 7 pm tonight as the remaining schools wrestlers’ battle for championship honors.  Live video streaming can be viewed at http://www.ncaa.com/liveschedule.

Individual match-by-match results
125 pounds – Andy Forstner – 6th Place
L, dec. Christopher Kochinsky (Shippensburg), 3-2
W, fall Shane Summerlin (Belmont Abbey), 3:31
W, dec. Ben Sergent (Findlay), 7-3
W, maj. dec. Jose Matos (Gannon), 13-4
L, fall Christopher Kochinsky (Shippensburg), :42
L, dec. Russell Weakley (North Carolina-Pembroke), 8-5

149 pounds – Jesse Westphal – DNP
L, fall John Paukovits (Kutztown), :36
L, maj. dec. Brandon Russow (Central Missouri), 12-1

165 pounds – Brendan Eichmann – DNP
L, dec. Joey Wilson (Nebraska-Kearney), 9-4
W, dec. Ronald Tetreault (American International College), 4-0
L, dec. Mike Williams (North Carolina-Pembroke), 3-2

174 pounds – Ben Becker – 7th Place
W, dec. Trevor Sanford (Anderson), 9-2
L, dec. Ryan Pankoke (Nebraska-Omaha), 5-2
W, fall Caleb Kociemba (Nebraska-Kearney), 1:44
L, dec. Mark Mueller (Upper Iowa), 7-4
W, maj. dec. Gene Choi (San Francisco State), 8-0

184 pounds – Aaron Norgren – 4th Place
W, dec. Brandon Tressler (King), 6-2
W, dec. Ryan Becerra (Grand Canyon), 7-3
L, dec. Aaron Denson (Nebraska-Omaha), 4-2
W, dec. Mitchell Schultz (Upper Iowa), 6-0
L, dec. Bryant Blanton (Newberry), 5-4

197 pounds – Pat Mahan – DNP
L, dec. Luke McPeek (Adams State), 11-8
W, dec. Jarrett Edison (Central Oklahoma), 6-4
L, dec. Matt Baker (Nebraska-Omaha), 4-1